Pool players set up their cue balls and pool cues as they played against opponents to win prizes and participate in the thrill of competition at the 9-Ball Billiards Tournament in the TSU Titan Bowl & Billiards Thursday evening.
After chalking their hands, players sat on the edge of the table, lunged and got on their tippy toes to guarantee the best possible angle for their shot. Students used their pool cues to carefully calculate how each shot would make it into the pool table pocket.
“It’s a game that involves a lot of precision and geometry, even though people don’t really talk about that as much,” said Steven Hardy, a fifth-year student double majoring in communications and philosophy. “They just see a bunch of balls and sticks and they try to make the next one in, but I actually see it as math.”
Operations supervisor Sydney Ochoa worked with Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) to host the tournament. This is the very first semester they hosted 9-ball tournaments as opposed to the regular 8-ball tournaments, Ochoa said in an email statement.
There were 12 pool tables available for the tournament and 28 students registered to participate, Ochoa said in an email. Students played one opponent at a time in a best-of-three format.
Fawaz Alrasheed, a mechanical engineering major, was quickly eliminated from the tournament.
“I lost the first game,” Alrasheed said, who doesn’t play pool too often. “I just play for fun.”
Hardy has been playing pool since he was 7 years old. He won three games until he was eliminated after losing to opponent Ivan Vu.
Vu, a computer science major, won three rounds before being eliminated. He said he started playing pool two years ago and continues to play every Tuesday with his friends.
“I have been to one last year. I lost in the first round however, but I was determined to get better from that point. I’ve been playing ever since then and I decided to come back this year,” Vu said.
Vu was “pretty sad” that he lost the tournament and admitted that he has a competitive spirit.
Although many players participated in the tournament, Hassan Almiskeen managed to win the entire competition.
Almiskeen is a second-year computer engineering major, learned to play pool at age 15 and won a pool championship. He quit playing because he needed to work, but when Almiskeen came to Cal State Fullerton from Saudi Arabia, he started practicing pool again on a daily basis, he said.
“I like my opponent to be tough because when he’s tough, I can play my best. Otherwise, I won’t,” Almiskeen said. “I was stressing in the final, but the whole tournament was fun. I met a lot of new people actually.”
Prizes were given to first and second place winners. The first place winner received two movie tickets, and the second place winner received free bowling passes to play at the TSU Titan Bowl & Billiards.
“Our department is dedicated for students to have fun with all our tournaments that is our sole purpose: bringing students in to take a break in between studying and create relationships with other students,” Ochoa said in an email.
The 9-Ball Billiards Tournament will take place the first Thursday of every month through May. ASI will host a Texas Hold’Em tournament Monday at 6 p.m. in the TSU Titan Bowl & Billiards.